Sunday, December 4, 2016

Star Block Tutorial

Christmas is coming and I wanted a pretty little quilt made from some Moda Juniper Berry fabric. My 25 year old Bernina is in the shop getting a new motor, so I am stitching this quilt on one of my Singer Featherweights. This block is so easy and so much fun to make, you can easily put this quilt together in a weekend! 

The quilt requires 3 Charm packs. I elected to purchase 1 Layer Cake and cut it into fourths.  This way I get my 3 Charm packs and a bonus 4th to use on another project.

Set your layer cake out on your cutting mat and cut in half. A layer cake is 10" so when you cut it in half you will have two 5" by 10" strips.  Now cut those in half and you will have four 5"x 5" Charm squares. I cut 4-6 layers if fabric at a time, I would not recommend that you cut through more layers than that, you start to lose accuracy. Make sure your blade is sharp.

For this project you only need 3 so you will have a bonus Charm Pack to use another time.

I like to use the wrapping that came with the Layer Cake to rewrap the little left over Charm Pack and that way I will know what it is when I go to quilt with it.

For the background fabric you will need 1 3/4 yards. I used Kona Cotton White. Kona Cotton has a wonderful feel and stitches up so nicely. It really is my favorite for solids.

I fell in love with Reindeer Games and will be using that for my backing fabric and possibly my border as well.

So here we go.  First thing to do is sort your charm packs into like fabrics...we have 3 charm packs so we should have 3 of each fabric.
Once you have done that take one stack of 3 like charms and remove one of those to your cutting mat.  Cut 1 charm into four squares that will measure 2.5 x 2.5 each.  You do this by cutting your Charm in half (2.5") and without moving your fabric, turn your cutting mat and cut the Charm in half again (2.5").  You will need two of those small squares for this block and one of the charms...the others will create a second block set for you.  

From your background fabric (I have used Kona Cotton White) you will need to cut 24 strips that measure 2.5" x WOF (width of fabric)

From your strips you will need to cut a piece 7" x 2.5 and a piece 5" for each block.

Take the small 2.5" squares and fold them in half on the diagonal as shown below, you can press them to get a clear crease or if you want to, you can mark them with a marker that will not bleed into your fabric.  This crease is our stitching line.

TIP: if you have directional fabric...lay your block out on your cutting mat next to your sewing machine and make sure you have your 2.5" pieces folded so that you are lining up the direction of the fabric...see below.  Place the 5"x 2.5" strip at the top and the 7" x 2.5" strip at the right of your charm.  Lay your folded 2.5" squares as shown to create the block and check your direction.

Make your fold and check again.

Keep your folded squares where they are and open them up. You can pin them in place if you wish.  Take them to your machine and stitch on the crease. TIP: it will help if you start your stitching from the long edge and stitch out to the point, rather than starting from the point.  If you start at the point, you risk jamming up your sewing machine by having that fabric tip get jammed down into the needle hole.

Take your strip to your mat and cut away the excess fabric leaving a 1/4" seam allowance as shown below.

Open out your piece and press toward your darker fabric. Place the 5" strip at the top of your charm and stitch in place, again, check your alignment to make sure you have your piece laid out correctly.  Press toward your charm.

Lay the 7" strip along the right side of your charm and stitch into place. Press toward your charm.

You should now have a block that looks like this...

Place four blocks as shown below...

Stitch the top two and the bottom two blocks together just as you would a four patch, as shown below...TIP:  start your stitching at the star point. Press your seams to the left.  Press both star halves in the same direction, when you turn them to place them together, they will nest giving you a perfectly matched center.

Stitch the top and the bottom together and you have your final star block as shown below...

Hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial for this star block.  Check back and I will post the quilt when finished.

BONUS: save all of your little triangle cuttings and you can run them through your machine as leaders and enders to be used in your border or your quilt.

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